Most of the time we are so focused on fitness goals that we forget about how important exercise is for our mental and emotional wellness. With the stressful pace of everyday life and now a world pandemic, it is so important that we find strategies to support our mental health. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act and determines how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Physical activity is a very important way to maintain this balance. Getting sweaty at least five times a week has been proven to boost mood, improve brain function, improve sleep, reduce cortisol, and help manage anxiety and stress.
For a long time, the main purpose of my going to the gym was to be physically fit. Now, I realize that activities which challenge me such as training for a half marathon and participating in Tough Mudders, inspires self-discipline and helps me build a strong mindset which I carry into my everyday life. This is why I love training in Muay Thai as Martial arts is known to promote physical and mental control. Each week, when I show up at Legacy, I love that my body is getting stronger and my kicks more powerful, but I also find that when I am in need of a break, or want to give up on something that seems impossible to master, I have the mental focus to help me dig deeper to find that extra push.
Remember, going to the gym is not always about having a six pack. The social benefits of working out with other people is a great recipe for maintaining mental wellness. Being part of a team or club provides you with a sense of community that is working towards a common goal. This mix of exercise and social activity will surely boost your mood when you are feeling down.
If you are not one to join a big box gym or don’t have enough time to workout, remember that any kind of physical activity is healthy for your body and mind. Find something you like to do or have wanted to try and schedule it into your calendar to find time for your own well-being.
I am a lot of things. I am a woman, a school teacher, a registered nutritionist, a fitness enthusiast, a partner, a daughter, a writer, a friend, a chef... But most of all I am a fighter. Yes, I train at Legacy Fight Club, but what I mean by “a fighter” is not just in the literal sense of the word which is “to contend in battle or physical combat”, or, “to engage in boxing”. It is to constantly put forth effort and determination in everything I do. So when I say I have been a fighter all my life, it is true